by Julie HaleMay, 2007
Recipes for a Perfect Marriage
Set in New York City, this delightful romantic tale from Irish writer Prunty will resonate with female readers. Food writer Tressa Nolan is 38 when she marries Dan Mullins, the handyman in her building, for lack of a better suitor. Now that she's safely married, Tressa thinks she's ready to head into middle age, but life holds a few unexpected surprises. After a couple of months with her new husband, Tressa finds she's not in love with him and becomes increasingly discontented. Dan wants to move from New York to Yonkers a transition Tressa can't fathom and his pushy mother, Eileen, and a legion of other Irish-American relatives only make matters worse. Tressa finds herself longing for the advice of her dead grandmother, Bernadine, who had a seemingly perfect 50-year marriage to her grandfather James. When Tressa discovers Bernadine's journals and reads about her life, she learns that the path to a blissful marriage is rocky for everyone. Prunty skillfully weaves Bernadine's story, which is set in Ireland in the 1930s, into the main narrative, adding recipes from that era for old-fashioned treats like honey cake and rhubarb tart. The two contrasting plot threads play off one another in a revealing manner, adding to the charm and appeal of this unique novel. A reading group guide is available online at www.hyperionbooks.com.